Frankie McAvoy is expecting to face a Sheffield United side full of confidence on Tuesday evening, but his team are in a positive frame of mind themselves after going four unbeaten.
The Blades had a difficult start to the Championship season, picking up one point from their opening five fixtures, but they enjoyed a 6-2 victory against Peterborough United at the weekend.
They were one of the favourites to achieve promotion before the campaign kicked off after being relegated from the Premier League and they will now be hoping to kick on.
“They were getting criticised for not scoring goals, but they’ve got an array of talent,” Frankie told iFollow PNE. “They’ve been up in the Premier League, they’ve come down, they’ve added a few new faces as well.
“A new manager coming in, Slavisa Jokanovic, has a wealth of experience in terms of managing in England as well as the continent, and he’s done really well with a few promotions to the Premier League under his belt as well.
“So they’ll be formidable tomorrow night, I don’t think there’s any questions or doubt about that, and with the great result they had on Saturday against Peterborough their confidence will be pretty sky high.
“But most importantly I’ve got to look at us. We’re on a run of four unbeaten now, we’re a bit unfortunate it wasn’t three wins in a row in the league, which is good in the Championship, and we’ll go prepare as best as we can to go and try and get a positive result.”
North End head into the game following the goalless draw on Saturday with Bristol City, a game which in hindsight Frankie thinks his side did enough to win.
He said: “I thought we were really good going forward at times, particularly in the first half. Second half [we were] maybe not as threatening, although we did have a few chances, but for me defensively we’ve looked good.
“Daniel [Iversen] is looking as though he’s back up to speed, Patrick [Bauer] has come in and solidified the middle as well, and the two either side of him have got great recovery pace and they can go and cover and allow our wing backs to get high up the pitch which is really important for us.”
Tuesday night’s game is the second in a busy run of fixtures which follow the international break and, while Frankie has been involved in football for a long time in the backroom staff, it’s the first time he’s experienced the hectic schedule as a head coach.
He said he’s coping well, though, admitting he is still grateful to have been given the opportunity.
“I seem to do okay in terms of my mindset,” said Frankie. “I think the biggest thing is I’ve got to be grateful and thankful I’m in a job.
“I’m in a fantastic job, it’s a privilege to be the head coach of Preston North End, and anybody that’s in a job currently in football, we just need to understand and realise that we are in privileged positions, and it’s great to be in work.
“Particularly through Covid and the issues that brought about, a lot of people have lost their jobs through that as well, and I’m truly grateful and thankful for the position I’m in and I’ll give everything that I can.
“I’ve said that, I’ve made that clear to try and make Preston successful as we can be, and I know the guys behind us are the exact same, and the players give you everything and that’s all we can ask.
“I’ve got full faith and trust in this group and I’m sure that they’ll do well; I don’t think there’s any question or doubt about it.
“We’ve added a few in Ali [McCann] and Josh [Murphy], they were a part of the squad and they got a taste of it on Saturday, and they’ll be looking forward to trying to progress as well.
"I’m pretty pleased with the squad, I think we’ve got a good set of players that are ready to go, that are hungry, and hopefully fingers crossed we can do well going forward.”
Hear more from Frankie in his full interview on iFollow PNE.